COLUMBUS (WCMH) — In-person workouts is a great sign that high school football could return in the fall, and it’s given coaches and players hope.
“Last week, we had nothing, and today we have something, so that’s good,” said Brad Burchfield, head football coach at Bishop Hartley.
This week, Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted announced the first steps toward bringing back high school football in the fall with in-person workouts starting May 26. These workouts will focus on skills training, including but not limited to weight training, agility training and other types of conditioning.
“We do know that skills training and conditioning for student athletes is important to start now,” Husted said. “Proper training and conditioning are not only essential for skill development, but they can also properly condition athletes to reduce their risk for injury.”
Naturally, there are specific guidelines for teams as they ease back into workouts.
“I think that you got to go slow and you have to have a natural progression,” Burchfield said. “We’re going to do everything they suggest, everything they recommend. We are going to keep them in small groups, we’re going to wash everything down, as soon as hands leave we are going to wash everything down. Like I said, the last thing we ever want to do is screw this up. It’s not a race, it’s not a sprint. This thing is going to be a marathon and the last thing we ever want to do is go backward. The guidelines are set in two-week increments, so I think that’s a good barometer. Let’s do this for two weeks. Let’s do a really good job and in two weeks we can go further, two more weeks we can go further.”
Over at Dublin Coffman, head football coach Mark Crabtree said the biggest challenge will be organization.
“Well, one of the things we weren’t quite sure about was how many people are they talking about in one group? And really for us, that’s the biggest I think obstacle,” Crabtree said. “We just have to make sure that we have enough coaches to help. We have to know exactly what numbers we are dealing with here as far as players go and then we’ve got to be super organized in terms of our workout and training regiment, which we typically are anyway. But this is a whole different challenge.”
Crabtree added there are also issues they’re going to have to work out as they go along.
“You know like, for an example, we can’t use the locker room, but what if a kid has to go to the bathroom? he asked. “Simple every day things that happen.”
Both Crabtree and Burchfield said while they didn’t know when teams would get the green light to get back on the field, preparations began weeks ago.
“We kind of had a plan ready to go if we came back in June, or July or August or whatever it was,” Burchfield explained. “We meet with the kids every week, so we’re able to kind of talk to them about what we know or what we can expect. Now, we have something a little bit more concrete that we can expect and something that we can do.”
“We sent a survey home to parents, to mom and dad last night, and for the most part it’s been pretty good,” said Crabtree. “They’re ready to roll. They’re excited. A couple parents have made very positive comments, and it goes with the territory. There are people who are concerned about some issues and they have some questions and things we need to deal with, but overall it’s been pretty good.”
Both coaches said one thing is clear — their players’ excitement to get back on the field and be with their teammates.
“I think in Ohio it’s a fabric of who we are,” said Burchfield. “It’s community gathering and I think it’s a sense of hope that we can return to some sort of normalcy and some sort of excitement and enthusiasm based around our own communities.”